Andy Warhol in Milan in 1987, taking pictures of the photographers who are photographing him. Credit: AFFER/Contrasto/Redux

21 Days of Andy Warhol is Sotheby’s three-week celebration of the essential 20th century artist with one-a-day stories and videos about Warhol’s origins, influences, inspirations, all leading up to the sale of important Warhol pieces in our Contemporary Art Evening auction 13 November.

NEW YORK - Andy Warhol became a fixture at Studio 54, the legendary New York nightclub that was a celebrity magnet in the late 1970s. He was photographed there by paparazzi, including the indefatigable Ron Gallela, whom Warhol called his favourite photographer.

Gallela's camera followed Warhol and his glamourous circle and their nonstop party. "I have a social disease," said Warhol. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumours to my dogs."

Although Andy Warhol clearly relished his own celebrity status, the artist nevertheless expressed some ambivalence about being a public figure. "Being famous isn't all that important," he wrote. "If I weren't famous, I wouldn't have been shot for being Andy Warhol."

Tomorrow: Andy and the Self-Portrait.